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Ensuring Cloud Security – Dangers of IaaS Misconfigurations

Rajarshi Mitra
Post by Rajarshi Mitra Sep 25, 2020

IaaS or “Infrastructure as a Service” is one of the three components of cloud computing services along with alongside software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS). Lately, IaaS has outpaced both SaaS and PaaS, and for a good reason. IaaS providers give organizations an underlying infrastructure that can allow them to create applications efficiently. 

However, this has opened up a whole new can of worms regarding building a safe environment and dealing with cybersecurity threats. As per a report by McAfee, 99% of IaaS misconfigurations are going unnoticed. 

In this article, let’s see why IaaS has experienced such growth and how so many of these misconfigurations are going unnoticed. 

The Rise of IaaS

There are several reasons as to why IaaS has experienced such rapid growth: 

  • Let’s start with the most apparent benefit. Moving to an IaaS model reduces a company’s organization costs. Companies no longer need to maintain hardware or replace old equipment. Plus, using a cloud service makes sure that organizations have enough storage space to work with. 
  • Another huge benefit that IaaS can give your organization is the ability to scale up and down when needed. These service providers have the latest and most powerful equipment to take care of their customers. As such, the infrastructure will be able to adjust according to the needs of the company. 
  • According to Frost & Sullivan, business continuity and disaster recovery are the top drivers for adopting IaaS. Since IaaS provides a disaster recovery infrastructure, employees can access the same infrastructure online from wherever they happen to be. This ensures that if disaster strikes, the company doesn’t face any negative repercussions. 

Because of these reasons and many more, Gartner forecasts the worldwide public cloud services market to grow by 17.5% over 2019, reaching $214.3 billion. In particular, the IaaS climbed up by 27.5% to be worth $38.9 billion, up from $30.5 billion in 2018. 

Now, let’s look at the flip side of the IaaS boom. 

Cloud security lapses in IaaS configurations

As mentioned above, only 1% of IaaS issues are reported. McAfee surveyed over 1,000 IT professionals across 11 countries to compile this report. The main reason why this happens is that companies don’t understand that the cloud model is a “shared responsibility.” Rajiv Gupta, the senior vice president of Cloud Security at McAfee, aptly summarizes this: 

“In the rush toward IaaS adoption, many organizations overlook the shared responsibility model for the cloud and assume that security is taken care of completely by the cloud provider. However, the security of what customers put in the cloud, most importantly sensitive data, is their responsibility.” 

Cloud security: Stats to note from the survey

Here are some interesting stats from the survey that are worth noting: 

  • Companies believe that they only average 37 misconfigurations in their IaaS when the real number is somewhere near 3,500. 
  • While 90% of the people surveyed said that they have come across some security issues with IaaS, only 26% admitted that they had the necessary skill set to deal with the misconfigurations. 
  • IaaS-based data loss incidents triggered by data loss prevention (DLP) rules have increased by 248% year-over-year. 
  • 42% of storage objects measured with recorded DLP incidents were misconfigured. 

Major Issues with cloud infrastructure security 

The report points out the following when it comes to the most pressing issues with IaaS integration. 

  • Practitioners struggling to keep pace: As we saw in the stats above, around 90% of the companies surveyed experienced some security issue with IaaS. However, only 26% said that they had the tools needed to take care of these issues. This tells us that practitioners are struggling to keep pace with the speed of cloud adoption. 
  • IaaS adds to Shadow IT: One of the best advantages of using IaaS is the ease with which developers can create new infrastructure. However, this is an absolute nightmare for the SOC team since it’s hard to keep track of everything. To make matters worse, many organizations utilize multiple cloud service providers. This means organizations are usually unaware of the full extent of their infrastructure and potential attack surface. 

How Netenrich ensures that your cloud security is up to scratch

McAfee’s research shows us that companies need to make there are no misconfigurations in their IaaS deployment continuously. Plus, it is also essential to make sure that they are continually updating their security tools. 

At Netenrich, we use a killer combination of threat and attack surface intelligence, and expert SOC to ensure that there are no holes in your cloud infrastructure. Our always-on attack surface intelligence will continuously investigate your cloud for possible weaknesses and vulnerabilities. The data collected will be cross-referenced with the intel gathered by our Threat Intelligence from all across the internet. Following that, our systems will be able to tell if a particular threat requires instant remediation or not. Our 360-degree infra-monitoring will make sure that your company doesn’t fall victim to breaches via shadow IT misuse. 

There are three significant advantages to our method 

  • We won’t be conducting any resource-intensive scans and stalling your company’s operations during the process. 
  • We will only give you the vital threats to take care of, making sure that a wave of false positives does not paralyze you.
  • Our process will alert of misconfigurations even before they have a chance of becoming an actual threat. 
Rajarshi Mitra

About the Author

Rajarshi Mitra

Rajarshi is a creative and accomplished writer who made his mark in the blockchain space before stepping into cybersecurity. When he is not working, he is busy chilling with his wife and cat.

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